Geckoman Computer Game
An Educational Game with Three Multi-level Worlds
While the world sleeps, Nikki and Harold toil in the name of science. Their invention? The latest and greatest in nanotechnology: the incredible size-switching machine! Learn more about the adventures of Nikki and Harold as you help them navigate the incredibly small world of the nanoscale.
Background: Funded in part by the National Science Foundation, the game was a collaborative effort undertaken to create an educational computer game for children ages 10-14. Faculty at the CHN, in collaboration with Northeastern University game designers and education associates at the Museum of Science, created Geckoman to teach the scientific principles of nanotechnology and help kids differentiate between the nanoscale and the macroscale.
The premise of Geckoman is that through an explosion of an incredible shrinking machine, budding scientist Harold is shrunk to the nanoscale. His lab partner, Nikki, helps him navigate three “worlds”, beginning at the nanoscale and growing slightly larger until returning to normal size. Before exiting each level in all three “worlds”, Harold must also pick up one of Nikki’s notebook pages, which were scattered in the explosion. To help Harold return to normal scale and avoid the enemy attack, the notebook pages provide short tips and lessons that are aligned with national and Massachusetts state K-12 science and engineering standards. A movie trailer describes the game’s premise when you start the game.
For a more structured educational use of the game, four lesson plans were developed by school teachers and are available online, along with additional information to introduce scientific content about nanotechnology that can be used for classroom, home or after school instruction.
Girls and boys who have played the game have found it exciting and showed an increased knowledge of nanoscale concepts.
News and Publications:
Donahue Institute Evaluation Report (2008)
ASEE Evaluation Paper (2008)